Jesus Dojo

Earlier this week I attended a very cool gathering of young leaders from all over the country who are re-thinking what it means to be followers of Jesus. Many of these leaders are trying all kinds of new ways to live out in community what Jesus taught his first followers. One of these communities in San Francisco decided to call themselves a "dojo" instead of a church.

Why a dojo?

A dojo is literally "a place where one learns the way," usually of some kind of martial art. In this case, this dojo teaches the way of Jesus. And, similar to a martial arts dojo, this community teaches not just by lecturing, etc. but by actually practicing together the way of Jesus.

So here's how this dojo learned what it means to live in simplicity and rely on God instead of all our material stuff.

They decided on an experiment which they called "have 2, give 1." Jesus once his followers taught if you have two coats, give one away to someone who doesn't have any. So this dojo decided to bring together everything they had more than two of--coats, shirts, jeans, bikes, CD's, books, you name it--sell it at a gigantic garage sale, and then give the money to a local shelter.

Two things happened: first, the dojo discovered in a very practical way what it meant to rely on God and not on stuff; second, the neighborhood discovered that there was a group of Christians among them that actually cared about them.

Now this is important.

This dojo is located in the Mission District of San Francisco, home to artists, street people, musicians, addicts, alternatives, intellectuals, and anyone else you can imagine--people who have often experienced Christians as ridged, hostile, and judgmental--definitely not people who really care about them and the daily challenges they face.

But over time the actions of this unusual dojo began to cause many in this neighborhood to open up to the way of Jesus and the life he offers his followers. And the members of the dojo of began to discover that it is often important to act like Jesus before talking about Jesus. Saint Francis one said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary use words.” Credibility matters.

So what happen if Immersion would start thinking of itself as a dojo—a place where one learns the way of Jesus? What would happen if we started experimenting together with living life the way Jesus taught?

What would happen to us, our friends, and Des Moines? Probably pretty cool stuff.

Blessings on the Way!


(For more information on this extraordinary dojo go to


  1. sUmmEr0manCe said...
    i love it!
    i think it is such a good idea sometimes i feel like we talk so much about doing things and be active in the church but then we never get around too it we get so caught up in our busy lifes. i agree that getting the message across works better when you show people rather then when you tell them....

    dojo -- i like it.
    Leah said...
    That's the kind of thing I want to be involved in! I feel like we get so worked up about going to worship and what happens there instead of actually doing what Jesus told us to do: "Follow me..." and learning what that means along the way.
    Anonymous said...
    I agree that it should more active but too much time is spent going out and ministering. Not enough making sure the body here is good. I know I for one am in a horrible place right now and don't feel like I can talk about it with anyone there because they are too busy with all these other activities.
    Leah said...
    Good point! There really needs to be a balance between ministering and coming together as a Body to regroup and regain mission, etc. I remind myself that even Jesus took time away from ministering to spend time with the Father in prayer, and time with just his disciples away from the general public.

    Though I feel convicted of gathering too much and ministering too little.

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